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Capybara family

Promoting biodiversity on a chemical plant? It can be done!

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This industrial facility in Brazil is officially deemed a haven for wildlife

One might not be likely to associate in one’s mind a thriving tropical environment full of wildlife with the presence of a functioning chemical complex. Yet in Paulinía, a Solvay site located about 50 kilometers north of São Paulo, that’s precisely the type of cohabitation that’s happening - and successfully so!

So successful in fact that the site has been awarded a Gold Certificate by the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), an international organization promoting biodiversity conservation practices in the private sector.

Harmonious coexistence with nature

Paulinia WHC Certified Gold

For decades now, the Coatis/Solvay complex in Paulínia has multiplied efforts to promote harmonious coexistence with nature. In fact, these efforts have been so efficient that the site has become an international benchmark acknowledged by the WHC. Based in Maryland, USA, this highly respected NGO has been operating for 30 years, encouraging ecological management actions in the private sector through partnerships with companies and environmental education. In September 2021, it granted Paulínia its highest level of certification.

At a time when Environmental and Social Governance practices are increasingly valued, we can look back and see that, for decades, we have been implementing very effective sustainability measures.

Guilherme Silva, Director of Operations, Coatis, Solvay

Due to its good sustainability practices, Paulínia was chosen by the head office to be one of the first Solvay industrial parks to undergo the scrutiny of WHC auditors, and it ended up being the first in the Group to obtain certification. In Brazil, few companies have been awarded this honor.

The Paulínia industrial site is covered with typical Atlantic Forest vegetation, planted with thousands of trees and crossed by the Atibaia and Ribeirão Anhumas rivers. Though it comprises 27 chemical factories in full operation, the area is populated with a rich wildlife of birds, fish, capybaras, jaguars, snakes and other animals. This is because only 15% of its 16 million square meters are occupied by buildings and industrial facilities, including the roads that serve them.

During the WHC certification process, an inventory of the local fauna and flora was carried out: it identified 83 species of birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles. Part of these findings came from images captured by security cameras that recorded the transit of these “site residents.” As for the flora, over 90 plant species were cataloged by a specialized company contracted for the project. Some interesting findings came out of this: the site is a shelter for the maned wolf, an endangered species, and is the habitat for the second largest feline in the Americas, the puma.

Sustainability deeply rooted in the culture

“Since we had never been audited by the WHC, our goal was to reach the first level of certification. But to our surprise, we received the gold standard and were recognized as a benchmark company,” says Ronia Oisiovici, Sustainability and Innovation Manager at Coatis, who coached the certification project. Such an achievement is in line with the Group's Solvay One Planet sustainability strategy to reduce pressure on biodiversity by 30% by 2030.

“The WHC seal confirms Solvay’s and the Paulínia site’s pioneering spirit and commitment to sustainability. At a time when Environmental and Social Governance practices are increasingly valued, we can look back and see that, for decades, we have been implementing very effective sustainability measures,” says Guilherme Silva, Coatis' Director of Operations. Ronia adds, “One of Paulínia's hallmarks is its commitment to having the smallest impact possible on the environment and to promote peaceful and respectful coexistence with animals and their habitat. It is a tradition rooted in the site's culture.” Not only can the chemical industry and biodiversity be combined, it can be even a surprisingly successful association!